If I could choose one word to describe the general tone here, it would sober. It's not like the challenges outlined are any epiphany, but when you hear speaker after speaker articulate tremendous challenges, it congeals into an uncertain future.
I think Ignatieff was right when he framed this weekend as a challenge to see if a modern political party can respond effectively. Within this theme, one does have to wonder if Canadian voters are prepared to face some of these challenges, because many of the remedies aren't popular and/or palatable in a political sense. As David Dodge just pointed out, we are currently in a state where politicos are telling voters they can "have their cake and eat it too". The question then becomes- do the Liberals have the stomach to present unpleasant realities, because the risks are obvious?
Answers will be for another time, and past history suggests watered down remedies, as strategic considerations warp sound response. The inherent problem with "bold", you risk making yourself a target, particularly when your chief opponent is quite content to live in the world Dodge outlined. I'm not sure Canadians can "handle the truth"- it's simply human nature to gravitate to a vision that brings the least resistance, gloom and doom, accompanied by costs simply doesn't sell.
I appreciate the hesitations, but I firmly believe that the Liberals must distinguish themselves, or our chances are remote at best. If you accept the premise that the odds are long, then it allows for a more risk taking. Not reckless policy, but a consideration that maybe frank talk and sober solutions could resonate. It could all boil down to who has the most realistic vision, with the porviso that should we make the tough choices now, better days do lie ahead.
Timidity almost guarantees defeat, and while "straight talk" is full of landmines, at least the vision presented is honest and true, which no matter the outcome is helpful to the Liberal Party as it redefines itself.